Real Madrid 2020 Opponent Preview, Espanyol

La Liga could return on June 12, and Real Madrid’s first game back would be against relegation candidates Espanyol.

Real Madrid are in second place in La Liga, as they lost their final game before the league campaign was postponed, falling to a dangerous Real Betis side led by Nabil Fekir. The loss to Betis, who are in the bottom half of La Liga, was a sobering reminder to Madridistas that there can be no off days in Spain’s top flight.

When Los Blancos return to the pitch if the 2019-2020 resumes, which could occur in mid-June, their first game back would be against Espanyol. While Espanyol are in last place, Real can’t feel all three points are guaranteed.

Here’s a quick look at the possible matchup ahead.

Season so far

Espanyol are in last place in La Liga with 20 points, three points behind Leganes in 19th. They would need six points in order to match 17th-placed Celta Vigo in the safety zone, which means they are fighting for their lives.

And as Real’s draw with Celta showed, top clubs can easily fall to teams fighting for every point. Espanyol deserve to be in last, though, as they have La Liga’s worst goal differential and have surrendered more goals than any other team.

Last meeting

Real Madrid and Espanyol faced each other on Dec. 7 in the first half of the season, with Los Blancos picking up a 2-0 win.

Ferland Mendy picked up a second yellow in the 83rd minute, but Real were already well on their way to victory after Karim Benzema sealed the game at 2-0 just four minutes earlier.

Los Blancos dominated that game with 18 shots and about 60 percent possession, with Benzema playing a starring role. He assisted the first and scored the second, and WhoScored.com credited him with a jaw-dropping six key passes and three shots on target. Vinicius Junior was also incredible with seven dribbles completed, four key passes, and three shots on target.

On the other side, Espanyol’s best players disappointed. Marc Roca failed to make much of an impact on the match, Sergi Darder was one of the team’s worst players, and Wu Lei was substituted early in the second half.

Player to Watch

Since joining the team, striker Raul de Tomas has been an absolute star upfront for Espanyol and is giving the club real hope in the relegation battle. He’s already scored four goals in six La Liga appearances, bagging a goal in his first four league games with the Catalan-based club.

De Tomas hasn’t scored in his last two games, but he’s still been a big factor. In the 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid, the 25-year-old won a whopping eight dribbles and drew six fouls against Diego Simeone’s tenacious defense.

Next: Luka Modric's last hurrah is coming

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The Spanish international and former Benfica man is exactly the kind of forward who can cause Real Madrid problems in a scrappy game.

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